Saturday, May 26, 2012

South Fork Bonito Creek, LIncoln National Forest-May -2012

 I went back to the South Fork Bonito Creek hoping to hook up with a few of those trout I saw back in September. One thing I'm beginning to learn: the fish always look bigger when you're not fishing.  I have fished the lower 2 miles above the campground so many times, I decided to not to even  unpack my rod until I had hiked in an hour or so.There are plenty of fish in these further reaches of the stream. Most seem to be brookies and and most are small. I was hoping for few better sized rainbows,but only caught one very small one. Instead it was just one eager 5-7 inch brookie after another, which can get old after awhile. The prize of the day: a nine inch brook char that I had to work for by getting the little ones out of the way and depositing them in the pool behind me. The South Fork is  a beautiful little stream and can be a fun place to fish,but I'm feeling a little jaded. It hasn't been in real prime condition for several years now with good flows and better sized fish. One thing I did learn on this trip is that the brookies are there as far upstream as four miles from the trailhead and maybe farther when there's good water. I turned around near a spot where the stream went underground in a football field sized area of bare rocks and stones probably caused by a flooding event that stripped away all the soil and plants or by rock slide or a combination of the two.There is one of these stretches lower  down just above the wilderness boundary as well which is in a more advanced state of recovery. That's the odd thing about these streams around Sierra Blanca. The big and frequent floods and subsequent erosion  carves out much larger channels than are needed for the small average flows. IMPORTANT UPDATE: (May, 2014): the entire Southfork Bonito drainage was within the Little Bear Fire burn. Check with the Forest Service for conditions.  I suspect the fish population  is no more. Trout fishing in the southern half of our state may becoming a thing of the past sooner rather than later.

8 comments:

j Breininger said...

Hey devon!

First of all, thanks for the great blog, it has allready helped me a lot!
So my girlfriend and I were thinking about doing a little 3 day trip to southern new mexico (we're from San Marcos, TX) and i was wondering if you could possibly give us some advice on a cool hiking route to take. We need a place to camp and I wanted to do some fly fishing for trout as well, which is why i thought bonito creek would be great. Do you know a cool one day hike in that area? Or maybe you can think of an even better place?

Jakob

devon said...

Jakob, much of the South Fork Bonito drainage burned last June. There may be very little fishing to be had.Three Rivers on the other side still has a reasonable population of brook trout. It's also great hike from the Three Rivers campground to the crest( of the White Mountains), although the top may be burnt there as well. There are many trails that run up to the Crest here( Mostly on the east side) so you can invent different loops- such as the Main Bonito and the Little Bonito trails or Main Bonito and the Aspen trail, or Argentina Canyon and either Turkey Canyon or Skull Springs Canyon( there will be some road walking though) You can also fish the Ruidoso,but you won't be in the wilderness. Tiny Sacramento creek( north of Cloudcroft) has some fish and places to car camp,but is paralleled by a road and has no real hiking trails. You can join the the Mesilla Valley Fly Fishers and fish the Rio Penasco( it will cost 50 bucks-25 for membership, 25 a day for fishing), but there is no camping or hiking available.If you you are not going to fish, go to the Capitans( there is small Rio Grande Cutt stream there,but it is not open to fishing yet),other wise you'd be better off driving a little farther to the Gila, where the possibilities increase exponentially. I have many,many blogs on the Gila region.Check them out as well as other blogs about the Lincoln. Devon

j Breininger said...

Hey devon,

First of all thank you for the quick answer!
i was very busy lately which is why i'm just answering now.
Me and my girlfriend sat together and decided that the three rivers seem to be the best choice for us, since we'd also like to have a look at white sands monument.
So about the fishing: is there any flies you can recommend? Do dry flies like the Stimulator work? The brookies I know are usually very unpicky...
Thanks again for the information, and i will write you how it was when i'm back!
Jakob


devon said...

Any small dries will probably work, but you would be advised to get there sooner rather than later as our drought still continues. I've had some fantastic days here in early May,but April may be better this year unless there are some spring snows.There's a cool waterfall up Falls Canyon if you are willing scramble up a rough side canyon.

devon said...

I forgot, don't forget to check out the Three Rivers Petroglyph site on the way to the forest camp. It's outstanding.

j Breininger said...

Hey devon!

Actually we were wanting to go there this weekend...
I'm sorry i didn't make that clear earlier. Now i hope this isn't too early right? The weather forecast seems to be pretty good...
Where would be the closest place to get a NM fishing license?
Again thanks for the answers, i really appreciate them!

Jakob


devon said...

Sunny and warm this weekend.Get your license in Alamogordo.Don't spook the brookies. Have fun!

j Breininger said...

Hey devon!

We had a great time at three rivers.

At first i thought there was no trout in the river, but once we got a mile away from the campground it got steeper and there was more and more trout in the stream. It's really pretty amazing what these brookies can keep up with...

Jakob